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Pepperdine | School of Public Policy

MPP Career Leading a Government Agency

How a Pepperdine Master of Public Policy Degree Prepares You to Lead a Major Government Agency.

Video Transcription

My name is Hanna Skandera, and I'm formerly the secretary of education for the state of New Mexico and currently a visiting professor here at the School of Public Policy at Pepperdine as well as editor-in-chief of The Line and CEO of Mile High Strategies.

What makes the Pepperdine School of Public Policy's master's program unique? 

Pepperdine School of Public Policy (SPP) is unique. So many different public policy schools are all about the tactics, all about understanding data to inform a short-term decision. What makes SPP unique, is the ability to actually see and understand the "why"—not just the "what," but why are we doing, why would we think about doing that going forward, and understand, then, what needs to happen after you have your "why." 

How does Pepperdine's "liberal arts" approach best prepare future public leaders?

When you ground education and a liberal arts approach, you get the understanding and the deep ability to critically think and then assess what decisions need to be made to impact going forward. The liberal arts education I received here at the School of Public Policy is forever a foundation—over the last 25 years as I've had the opportunity to serve in many different administrations, for governors and for presidents. 

How has Pepperdine prepared you for your career? 

At the end of the day, Pepperdine is committed to instilling principles and making sure their students understand history to inform the future. When I came to Pepperdine, that is exactly what I got. Not just the practical side of policy, and data, and economics, and statistics, absolutely, but that's a given. The thing that sets Pepperdine apart and impacted me most, was about "how do you think about the end?" and have the "end" in mind as you make decisions as you inform policy, and as a leader in your future, and as a leader of this country.